Taught course

Children's Book Illustration

ARU (Anglia Ruskin University) · Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

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Entry requirements

A good honours degree (or equivalent), normally in a related subject. Applicants with professional experience are also encouraged to apply.

Months of entry


Course content

Amplify your creativity with ARU

Follow in the footsteps of acclaimed children’s artists by studying your Children’s Book Illustration MA degree at ARU. Work with a dedicated support team of internationally-recognised illustrators to develop your own personal visual vocabulary. Make connections in the children’s publishing industry.

  • Develop your own personal visual vocabulary supported by a team of internationally-recognised illustrators
  • Benefit from a 150-year tradition of drawing and inspiring creativity at Cambridge School of Art
  • Follow in the footsteps of many award-winning students and successful alumni
  • Apply for our inclusivity bursary, open to applicants eligible for UK fees and facing financial disadvantage and/or from an underrepresented group. If successful, you can get your full course fees paid, as well as mentoring from Picture Hooks. Bursary closing date for 2021 entry: 13 August 2021.

Our Children's Book Illustration taught studio course, the first of its kind in the UK, was developed by our distinguished Professor Martin Salisbury, who still contributes to teaching on the course. It will give you the dedicated support and knowledge you need to develop your practice in the art of children’s book illustration.

Since its inception in 2001, the MA Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art has seen hundreds of illustrators publish thousands of picturebooks, many to great acclaim. View recent publications.

MA Children’s Book Illustration students and graduate often dominate international and national awards shortlist many of them going on to win.

Recent awards include:

  • 2020: Mariajosé Gajate Molina (otherwise known as Mariajo Ilustrajo) won the World Illustration Award New Talent overall award, with her children’s picturebook Flooded
  • 2020: the prestigious V&A Student Illustrator of the Year prize was awarded to an MA Children’s Book Illustration student for the fifth successive year (2016-2020)
  • Sally Dunne, who graduated earlier this year from the MA Children’s Book Illustration course at ARU, received £3,000 after being named as the leading student at the annual V&A Illustration Awards, organised by the world-famous design museum
  • 2020: Ellan Rankin was the winner of the Carmelite Picture Book Prize. In addition to illustrating a new book written by Jeanne Willis, Ellan has received a cheque for £1,000. Second place, which comes with a £500 prize, has been awarded to fellow ARU student Fiona Fogg
  • 2020: Elena Arevalo Melville has been named as the inaugural winner of the Queen’s Knickers Award, which comes with a first prize of £5,000.

Within the broad guidelines of each Children's Book Illustration module, you’ll propose and develop a project, with guidance from internationally recognised illustrators, writers and publishers of children's books. You’ll share and discuss your work with other students in group critiques, and attend lectures and seminars that will inform your studio practice.

Illustration at Anglia Ruskin is built on a tradition that goes back to the founding of the Cambridge School of Art in 1858. Our MA degree students work in dedicated illustration studios right next door to the Ruskin Gallery, with access to a fully equipped printmaking studio.

By studying your Children's Book Illustration degree at ARU, you’ll follow in the footsteps of alumni such as designer and war artist Edward Bawden, acclaimed graphic satirist Ronald Searle, and Roger Law and Peter Fluck, founders of the TV phenomenon Spitting Image.

Course Leader: Shelley Ann Jackson.

Information for international students

If English is not your first language you will be expected to demonstrate a certificated level of proficiency of at least IELTS 6.5 (Academic level) or equivalent English Language qualification, as recognised by Anglia Ruskin University.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    part time
    30 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    18 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Course Enquiries
+44 (0)1245 686868